Nick Bullock, currently in Chamonix for the winter, reports a possible new start to the Cecchinel-Jager '68 summer route on the East Face of the Pointe Lachenal. Having gone to climb the original winter version of the line with Matt Helliker they noticed a better looking line to the left of the original corner, before rejoining the '68 route towards the top of their third pitch.
For full details and photo's visit the DMM website
Pointe Lachenal (3613m) is situated approximately 2km from the Aiguille du Midi lift station, high on the Vallee Blanche - in the Mont Blanc Range. It is a well travelled summer objective, offering great granite rock routes of around 250m in length. The ease of access from the Midi Station and the Refuge des Cosmiques, and the fact that the routes are generally solid, well protected and face South-East make this a deservedly popular summer venue. In winter the steep granite cracks offer thin mixed climbing in a similar style to the Northern Corries. The proximity of the face to the Vallee Blanche enables climbers to take an early lift to the Midi Station, climb and then ski back to the Chamonix valley in a day.
I spoke to Matt Helliker about the route: "This is the most sustained 'day route' I've done in the Alps, every pitch was full on. It's much harder that Scotch on the Rocks and its neighbours."